Friday, May 25, 2012

The Hunger Games in Switzerland #3

I must kill 24 people in a Swiss reality TV show, or they will cut off my supply of pizza, beer, and wine. My name is Andrew Girardin. This is my story.

Previously on The Hunger Games - #1 "It begins" - #2 "Milk"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Just Call Me Angel ... of the Starbucks

There are three reasons why I quit getting a Venti Chai Tea Latte almost every day. 
First, I realised I could sit in Starbucks for hours on end using their wi-fi, not buy anything, and feel absolutely no remorse.
Second, it's fattening. 321 calories. By my calculations, if I cut out beer and Chai Tea Latte I will lose 40% of my body weight in four months.
Finally, it's crazy expensive. In Zurich a Venti is 7.50 Francs (that's 8 US dollars or 5 Great British pounds). If you're reading this in a future decimated by hyper-inflation, those figures will have no meaning. So think of this: for the price of one Chai Tea Latte, you could send a mosquito net to Angola and save a mother and child, or watch half a movie in a cinema, or buy 1.2 shares in BP.

However, sometimes I wake from a daydream and find myself at the counter having just ordered and got my loyalty card stamped. That's how I know that Starbucks have a weird new thing of taking my name no matter how many people are in the queue. The last two times I was the only customer, and when asked what I was called, I said, in my sexy British accent, "Andrew." Both times the (Swiss) baristas looked puzzled and made me repeat it. "Andrew," I said again.

With weird results:

Angel 1
Angel 2

After two days of this, I decided to go in and say my name was 'Voldemort,' which would have been the first in a hilarious series that I'd turn into a blog post. But it was too early and I was too sleepy to do it properly. So I told the super-gay barista that my name was Andrew (because it is). He gave me a queer smile (both meanings), stamped my loyalty card twice and wrote my name in his flirtiest handwriting:

So now instead of giving silly names and taking photos of the cups for YOUR amusement, I'm going to call myself 'Angel,' act gay and try to get free drinks until I'm too fat to be attractive to the gay baristas.
At which point, I'll quit getting Chai Lattes again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

PL #4: How Many Irishmen?

How many Irishmen does it take to change a lightbulb?

by Andrew Girardin and Gonzalo Munoz

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Mansions of the Gods: Latin Jokes Explained

Asterix things are now over at - bigger, better, more beautiful. Check it out!

Book 17 - The Mansions of the Gods

The story: This is one of only two Asterix books without the hero's name in the title. In it, Caesar plots to cut down the forest surrounding Asterix's village and build an apartment complex named The Mansions of the Gods. He sends an architect, Squaronthehypotenus, to carry out the deed. Even after encountering the Gauls, he decides to press ahead.

Professor Ibrox explains: "Beati pauperes spiritu means 'blessed are the poor in spirit'. It's from the Sermon on the Mount.

The architect says that the gods seem to favour those with the least to recommend them. He's thinking of the Gauls, but it could equally be applied to Celtic fans, or nightclub bouncers."

The story: The architect has had great success in cutting down the forest, unaware that the Gauls are using magic potion to immediately regrow the felled trees. He wakes the centurion to announce the good news. The centurion has more experience of dealing with the Gauls, and is not easily excited.


Professor Ibrox explains: "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched - Gnothe seauton. It means 'know thyself' and should really be written gnothi seauton as it is the aorist second person imperative, as I'm sure you knew.

It doesn't make sense, but perhaps that's the intention. Probably it's just a setup for the 'it's Greek to me' line. Instead of Know Thyself they should have written 'Know the Gauls'. That would be more logical, but isn't a famous Greek phrase.

My head is not a happy place to be right now. Still, at least the bouncer came off worse."

The story: The Gauls have changed strategy and have decided to let the Romans build the Mansions of the Gods. The Romans publish a promotional brochure to drum up interest in the flats.
Mansions of the Gods brochure, page 2
Gauliseum detail enlarged

Professor Ibrox explains: "I made Andrew include this one because it's one of my all-time favourite Asterix gags.

Basically, the brochure shows how great life will be when the Mansions of the Gods are finished. One of the things they plan to build is not a Colosseum but a Gauliseum - a great pun.

You could go there to watch the Gaulacticos play football or listen to the Spice Gauls."

The story: For a laugh, the Gauls have sent Cacofonix to sing in the Mansions, which is the equivalent of sending Serge Gainsbourg. Predictably, the occupants panic and start preparing to leave.

Professor Ibrox explains: "Quousque tandem? Brilliant joke!

Quo usque tandem is the first bit of the first line of Cicero's oration against Catiline. Catiline was one of the chief conspirators during Cicero's consulship, and Cicero had the pleasure of prosecuting him, but his speeches against him are florid and overly rhetorical.

The whole line means 'When will you stop testing our patience?' You could say Quo usque tandem? in many situations - for example, to the man in the next cell who keeps singing Je t'aime... moi non plus, complete with moaning.

Shut up, you drunk old dirty old man or you'll get some of what I gave that Celtic-loving bouncer!

Buy Mansions of the Gods - click this affiliate link:

Professor Ibrox will return in 6 weeks (or fewer with good behaviour).